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Primary versus secondary drivers of foraging activity in sandeel schools (Ammodytes tobianus)
Van Deurs, M.; Behrens, J.W.; Warnar, T.; Steffensen, J.F. (2011). Primary versus secondary drivers of foraging activity in sandeel schools (Ammodytes tobianus). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 158(8): 1781-1789.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Van Deurs, M.
  • Behrens, J.W.
  • Warnar, T.
  • Steffensen, J.F.

    The commercially and ecologically valuable sandeel (Ammodytes ssp.) make distinct vertical shifts between an inactive stage, during which they seek refuge in the sand, and a pelagic schooling stage, during which they forage. This characteristic discontinuous foraging pattern constitutes a challenge to fishery biologists and has consequences for a wide range of predators ranging from birds and mammals to commercially important species. However, experimental studies that shed light on the primary drivers of foraging activity in fish are rare. In the present study, whole schools of sandeel (A. tobianus) were caught in August in east Denmark (65°02'30N; 12°37'00E) and kept in large tanks in the laboratory. It was found that the amount of food ingested and memory of past days feeding history are primary drivers of foraging activity at the level of the entire school, whereas external factors such as prey concentration and temperature are merely secondary drivers.

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